High-quality flexography according to Jesús Anguita

 

He has extensive experience in the sector, not to mention his teaching work as a professor of Flexography at the Antoni Algueró Vocational Training School.

Anna: Tell us about your first book, Jesús. I understand that it is a benchmark among reference books on flexography.

Jesús: I don’t know if that much (laughs). What I can tell you is that “Flexography” had a wide circulation in the industry. The book even crossed the pond to Latin America.

It is certainly a well-known flexo book and it is being used as a reference book by printers and at vocational training schools.

Anna: Of course, that does sound like a big reference book. But tell me, what is the difference between your first book and the one you published in 2011, “High quality flexography”?

Jesús: Well, the “High quality flexography” book introduces the technologies that had appeared in the recent years in the world of flexography. In addition, it has entered as a subject of analysis and examination in the last call of the National Currency and Stamp Factory.

Anna: Could we say that reading it is the easiest and safest way to achieve and standardize high print quality?

Jesús: Of course, that was its intention. And, for now, the readers make me understand it is fulfilling this function.

Anna: What kind of information can we find in the book? How can it be useful for flexography professionals, who are already highly knowledgeable about their job and industry?

Jesús: Yes, of course. We’re a hard-to-wow audience, but with that in mind, we included information on fearless flexographic machine technologies.

Anna: And for someone who doesn’t know much about flexography, what are the advantages of knowing this information?

Jesús: I suppose that as with all technology, the main advantage is saving time and production work, in addition to achieving improvements in the service itself. Aspects such as the quick change of cliché and anilox sleeves, automatic positioning, registration and pressure systems or the cleaning system shorten preparation times.

Anna: Indeed. Shortening preparation times and the standardization of processes are two very important things, especially in long and large-print projects. In the end the changes must be quick, each production stop involves a very large cost.

Jesús: Yes, time is precisely not abundant in this profession.

Anna: I have to admit that I’ve already read the book. What I am most interested in is you telling the reader about the advantages that the new technologies of digital sleeves and plates you mention on the book meant at the time. Can I tempt you to talk about it?

Jesús: Of course! At the time, digital sleeves allowed continuous printing of formats, providing advantages for the printer, such as the elimination of assembly times, higher precision of registers or excellent ink transfer, among others.

As for digital plates, they minimize dot gain, resulting in sharper highlights and higher print contrast. Both products allowed at the time the standardization of processes, so important still today.

Anna: I see, so it’s all advantages. In the book you also talk about double-sided cushioning tapes and how they are a key factor in achieving quality standards.

Jesús: Well, how could I not mention it? Since its first appearance, double-sided tape has continued to shock the industry (in a good way). It is used for everything, as you already know. These adhesive tapes also represent a revolution in relation to the quality you mention.

Anna: Yes, it is true. You can safely say that double-sided adhesive tape is one of the most used ones in any industry.  But, without further ado, if you could choose only three of the elements that have revolutionized and brought improvements in flexography that you mention in your book, what would they be and why? Give us a little summary.

Jesús: Now that’s a difficult question, Anna. I suppose, that if I have to choose, the best thing to mention are the ceramic anilox cylinders, for their ink transfer to the surface of the plate and the increase in rulings and different ways of applying the ink.

After that, the HD flexo (high definition) digital plate processing system, which results in a tonal range similar to offset and gravure (-> 0% – 100%), which allows working with rulings of 60, 70, 80 L/cm without the need to increase the line of the anilox.

It is also worth mentioning the introduction of Bellissima on the market. This plate processing system with flat dot technology, with which high rulings of 350-450 lpi and high-definition printing are achieved, rivals the previous parameters by relying on new technologies. Being able to digitally analyze each pixel has resulted in extremely high-quality prints and greater stability on presses.

Anna: Sounds good. And the third?

Jesús: Yes. Finally, as a third mention: the heptachromia printing system based on seven screened colors (CMYK+RGB). I mention this one because heptachroma is ideal for high-quality or colorful works.

Anna: Great choices! Now changing the subject, not everything you talk about in the book is about technology, right?

Jesús: It seems to me that you already know the answer to this question.

Anna: (laughs) Have you figured me out in such a short time? Yes, I mention this because I think our readers would like to know that you are also talking about a fact that cannot be overlooked in the world of flexography. I am referring to ISO 12647/6 flexography. This isn’t so much about technology, is it?

Jesús: Not so much, no.

Anna: For the readers who don’t know what we mean by this standard: this is the only international standard for jobs that are done in flexographic printing. This is process control for the production of halftone color separations, proof prints and production prints. And you, Jesús, you present us its advantages.

Jesús: Of course. The advantages of implementing the ISO 12647/6 international standard for flexographic printing are evident, since putting it into operation obliges us indirectly to establish a working method and, above all, to have greater control over our production processes, not only in the printing but also in the color laboratory (preparation and formulation of inks), or in photomechanics.

Anna: And is there any case in which this international standard cannot be implemented?

Jesús: Yes, in case of printing quality optimization based on one’s own parameters. This is that due to the type of jobs that are printed, with special media, printing conditions, high quality screens and rulings, etc. it is impossible to be brought to any standard. Therefore, they fall outside the specifications contained in the ISO 12647/6 standard.

Anna: What happens then?

Jesús: Well, in fact there are no big changes either way because the needs of these companies and particular workflows are the same and they also require extreme control of printing to achieve greater color gamut reproductions and high quality of the final product.

In these cases, and to ensure and optimize the quality of printing, procedures must be developed based on custom parameters in order to establish the optimal printing characteristics and conditions for a concrete and specific work system.

Anna: So, what you are saying is that as long as we go through “measurable parameters” we will be able to define and control the standards of each printer.

Jesús: I could’ve not said it better myself.

Anna: Great, because this thing you mention is a bit related to the last thing I wanted to talk to you about. In the book you assert something that I really like: in flexography it is often said that the only constant there is is the large number of variables that exist in the process and that, therefore, it is logical to affirm that the final quality of the print will depend of the control we have over those variables.

Jesús: Yes. It is something that is said, and it is something that I reaffirm. Those of us who have worked in the world know that the organization of technical processes and procedures in each of the work areas makes more sense than ever.

Anna: Does that not forfeit the usefulness you talk about in the book about new technologies for flexography?

Jesús: On the contrary, I try to share one last message. On many occasions, a better printing quality or the optimization of production times does not happen precisely through the incorporation of the latest technologies or the equipment of the latest generation machinery, but rather, for the organization of production and more efficient quality management.

We cannot forget the continuous training of all the personnel involved in the flexographic process in order to raise their professional level that allows them to correctly apply the new available technologies.

Anna: So you mean that everything is part of the same gear, right?

Jesús: Indeed. In flexography, everything and everyone is one.

Our two cents

I would not like to close this interview without mentioning that the book “High Quality Flexography” provides, since its publication in 2011, flexo printers with tools that allow them to know and control all the variables that affect print quality.

At Technologic Tapes we recommend the use of this book for those professionals who live day by day in this fascinating world. We apply its parameters and guidelines with highly effective results. Always with the same goal: to offer the best service to our customers.

If you have any doubts, do not hesitate to call us to help you on your search. After all, our team has professionals with more than 35 years of experience in the adhesive tapes industry to provide solutions to the most complex applications.

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